The Indian agriculture services are confronted with its own sheer complexity, inadequate factors of production, weather uncertainty, the multiplicity of schemes and multiplicity of Institutions, at farm level, hence there is no size neutral solution possible. Bridging the gaps in human resources development In India, 54.6% of people are engaged in the agriculture sector and 50% of them as agricultural laborers (census 2011). 90% of current jobs in agriculture are skill-based were only about 6% of the workforce has received vocational training. There is thus a pronounced skill gap both in terms of quality and quantity.
Digitalization of the farming system is the step towards achieving sustainable agricultural production and minimizing farmer's distress. It aims at the farm as 'economic unit', household as 'social unit' and land as 'environmental unit'. The three units are the core kernel of the multi-threaded agricultural system for achieving agricultural reforms through digitalization and Geospatial Technologies. Doubling farmers income by 2022 Committee report 2018 has deliberated and suggested the following 'digital technology mission mode' projects for strengthening 'farm centric' and 'farmer-centric' services;
- The existing farm extension system needs to be broad-based problem-oriented.
- ATMA and KVK are the two eyes of the present extension system which further require the third eye for problems resolution, maybe ICT enabled agricultural Polytechnics for bridging the emerging gaps and development of human resources for farm-level functionaries.
- Agricultural Informatics program courses advocated at Mtech, BTech, and PG diploma level, to prepare about 1 lakh rural youths, for undertaking S&T based agricultural development and to rejuvenate and usher in agricultural dynamism in the country, 2022 through agricultural Informatics and e-Governance.
- The national digital communication policy 2018 under its mission 2022, has envisaged
- (a) Connect India- BharatNet, GramNet, NagarNet, and Jan Wi-Fi infrastructure.
- (b) Propel India, for services based on 5G, IoT, cloud computing and Big Data Analytics.
- (c) Secure India, ensuring sovereignty, safety, and security of digital communications.
- The regulator of higher education in India - UGC AICTE have of late realized the higher potential of Agricultural Informatics in rural India.
This DFI-2022 digital technology mission projects are envisaged to usher in agriculture 4.0 in India. The possible action plan for 2019-22 shall be as follows;
- Digitalized Agro-Met advisories and agricultural risk management
- Digitalized agricultural resources information system and micro-level planning for achieving smart village and smart farming.
- The digitalized value chain for about 400 agriculture services.
- Digitalized access to inputs, technology, knowledge, skill, agricultural finance, credit, marketing, and Agri-Business Management to farmers.
- Digitalized form Health Management for reduction of farmer’s losses.
This may be considered as a possible roadmap for empowering small and marginal farming and Agri startups in the country.
- Setting up of a National Centre for IT in Agriculture (NCITA).
- Operationalization of the DFI-2022 digital technology mission mode projects, in identified topologies as Pilots, with one district in each state and UTs.
- Trending the operational Digital Network for farmers
- Steps to operationalize NeGP-AMMP projects which have been in cold storage for a long time
- Steps to dedicate BharatNet for farmers.
- Creation of a farmer welfare portal in 22 constitutionally recognized languages, for actively dealing with their grievances redressal.
- Agricultural Informatics program at Mtech, BTech and PG level to attract rural youth into S&T based farming methods.
- Creation of a national level farmer’s database based on core parameters, for providing personalized services for each and every farmer based on his /her agricultural assets and resources including grievances redressal in an effective manner through language computing.
- The convergence of various sectoral programs/schemes of Agriculture and Rural Development is essential at village level to achieve the desired impact at farm and farmer level.